Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2
S trim looks temptingly priced but, as you’ll see in the equipment section below, leaves you wanting for toys. Our pick of the range is the SE grade, which is equivalent to the Seat Arona SE Technology on both price and, for the most part, specification.
The Kia Stonic and Seat Arona are slightly cheaper to buy outright, while both the Stonic and Arona have weaker predicted resale values than the T-Cross. In our experience, the T-Cross is a little pricier on a PCP finance deal, but the difference between it and the Arona isn’t ruinous.
If you’re a company car user, the T-Cross’s relatively low CO2 emissions are very similar to the Arona’s (it shares the same engines, so that’s no surprise) but are vastly lower than the Stonic’s. The same is true when it comes to fuel consumption; the T-Cross is rather more economical than the Stonic.
Equipment, options and extras
Entry-level S trim is pretty basic — its highlights are 16in alloy wheels, air-conditioning and electric windows — and we’d suggest a step up to SE if you can.
SE adds 17in alloys, adaptive cruise control, a second USB charging port, automatic wipers and a leather steering wheel and gear knob, all of which helps to lift an otherwise fairly drab interior. Options that are worth considering include the Winter Pack, which adds heated front seats and heated washer jets; and parking sensors.
SEL has quite a lot of niceties that are worth having, such as dual-zone climate control and privacy glass, but the hike in price is enough to make you think twice. Steer clear of R-Line; it’s expensive and mainly adds styling additions that have no tangible benefit to the way the T-Cross drives or accommodates people and luggage.
The T-Cross is too new to have appeared in our latest What Car? Reliability Survey. However, though we can’t measure the car, we can measure the brand. VW itself came mid-table in the manufacturer rankings, finishing 17th out of the 31 we surveyed. For context, that puts it below Seat but above Audi.
What protection do you get if things do go wrong? A three-year warranty, limited to 60,000 miles, comes as standard with every T-Cross. That’s typical of many rival manufacturers, but not as generous as Hyundai’s five-year, unlimited-mileage warranty or Kia’s seven-year, 100,000-mile package.
Safety and security
The T-Cross received the top five-star safety rating when tested by EuroNCAP in 2019, with an excellent 97% score for adult occupant protection. In the individual test categories, the T-Cross actually rated a little higher than the Seat Arona, with which it has structural similarities.
The car's generous list of driver assistance features contributed towards that strong safety rating; technology includes automatic emergency braking, which can monitor the road ahead for both cars and pedestrians; lane-keeping assistance and a post-collision mitigation system. The latter brakes the car after an accident, to prevent it from potentially rolling to cause another one.
SE trim adds a driver fatigue monitor, which tells you when to take a break, and SEL includes traffic sign recognition, so there's no excuses for not keeping to the speed limits.
Moving to the security side of things, an alarm is optional on the entry-level S trim, but standard on the rest of the range.